The coronavirus epidemic has caused the Budapest Spa group a loss of about EUR 62 million till now, and the number of visitors has not gone back to the pre-pandemic level yet. Price increases could be part of the recovery plan.
In 2020 and 2021, the baths were closed for about 8 months because of the Covid regulations. In total, these 8 months, plus the lower amount of visitors in other months, meant a loss of more than EUR 62 million to the spa company in the capital, and it exceeds the revenue of EUR 52 million realised in the year before the pandemic, in 2019. This was mainly due to the lack of foreigners, as a significant part of the revenue comes from foreign guests visiting the historical baths, like Széchenyi, Gellért, and Rudas baths, says Turizmus.com.
In 2019, Budapest spas had nearly 5 million visitors. However, last year, there were only 1.5 million guests. The plan is to reach 3 million visitors in 2022. Several marketing campaigns will be launched both inside and outside Hungary to promote the spas.
A wage agreement was signed with the employees of the spa on the 27th of January, with an 11 per cent pay rise. It was very important to build a stable team before the start of the summer high season.
A government decree issued in December 2020 froze prices, so baths in Budapest continue to work with prices from before the coronavirus. In the meantime, however, there have been significant changes in costs as wages and energy prices have risen. In July 2022, taking into account the inflation over the past two years, they plan to raise prices by 8.7 per cent in their non-historic baths. In the two most famous historic baths, they are planning to introduce a 20 per cent price increase, which will be needed to provide high-quality services.
In addition, the renovation of Gellért Bath is a key issue for the company, in connection with the modernisation of Gellért Hotel, which is in “symbiosis” with it. The renovation of Gellért Bath may begin in the summer and will take at least two years. The revenue lost due to the closure of Gellért would be made up for by the opening of Rác Bath after its renovation is completed, probably sometime at the beginning of next year. They will also reintroduce the popular night events.